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The beauty of Lunar New Year celebrations around the world, in photos

Wikimedia: Chris Phutully

Happy Lunar New Year! Cities around the world are partaking in days long festivities to ring in the Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year marks the first day of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. It’s one of the most important celebrations for countries that have traditionally followed the lunar calendar.

While China is famous for its extravagant celebrations, other countries including Vietnam, Mongolia, and Korea have their own distinct Lunar Year traditions. Here’s a quick look at how the world celebrates Lunar New Year in style.

1) China

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Shanghai’s City God Temple is lavishly decorated during Chinese New Year.

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A fire dragon dance taking place at midnight on Chinese New Year. Dragon dances and lion dances are popular during celebrations and parades for Chinese New Year.

2) Singapore

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Singaporeans shop for Chinese New Years decorations in Chinatown, Singapore.

3) Mongolia

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A traditional feast is prepared for Mongolian New Year, or Tsaagan Sar in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

4) United States of America

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Started in the 1860’s, the San Francisco's Chinese New Year parade is one of the largest of its kind outside of China.

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Women walk in traditional costumes at the annual Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown, New York City.

5) Republic of Korea (aka South Korea)

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Children play a traditional Korean game called yunnori in Seoul, South Korea during Seollal, the Korean New Year.

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A memorial service, known as charye in Korean, is performed on New Year’s Day. Koreans offer food and wine in a ceremony for their ancestors.

6) Vietnam

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Flowers are on display on the streets of Ho Chi Minh city for Tết or Vietnamese New Year. 

7) Australia

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Crowds watch a lion dance performance in Melbourne, Australia.

8) Japan

the-beauty-of-lunar-new-year-celebrations-around-t Body 11.jpgImage: Flickr: Yoshikazu Takada

Although Japan only celebrates New Year’s on January 1st (the nation adopted the Gregorian calendar back in 1873), the customs of the traditional Lunar New Year are still observed. As midnight nears on December 31st, Japanese temple bells are rung 108 times to symbolize the 108 sins in Buddhist belief.

9) South Africa

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A Chinese New Year’s performance takes place outside Nan Hua Temple in Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa. Nan Hua is the largest Buddhist temple and seminary in Africa.

10) Taiwan

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On the first day of Chinese New Year, temples are crowded with people burning incense and praying for happiness in the coming year.

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Lanterns are lit at night in Taipei, Taiwan. The Lantern Festival occurs on the fifteenth day of the lunar calendar and marks the end of Chinese New Year.

11) Tibet

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A traditional dance is performed at a monastery for Tibetan New Year, or Losar. The festival is celebrated by Tibetans in China, Bhutan, Nepal, and India. 

12) United Kingdom

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A lion dancer performs at a Chinese New Year celebration at Trafalgar Square in London.

13) Malaysia

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A Buddhist temple in Penang, Malaysia is illuminated for Chinese New Year. The Lunar New Year is an important holiday in Malaysia, where ethnic Chinese make up 25% of the population.

14) Hong Kong

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Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbor in celebration of Chinese New Year.

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If you’re lucky enough to be in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year, head out to the annual night parade, featuring floats and performance groups from around the world.

Lunar New Year is a truly global celebration. This list is just a small sample of the many and diverse places that observe the holiday. But wherever it’s celebrated, Lunar New Year is a joyous occasion for people to come together and have a good time. So Happy Lunar New year to all!